Imperial Valley Press
Chinese businessman arrested in $1 billion fraud conspiracy
NEW YORK ( AP) — A business tycoon long sought by the government of China and known for cultivating ties to Trump administration figures including Steve Bannon was arrested Wednesday in New York on charges that he oversaw a $1 billion fraud conspiracy.
Guo Wengui, 54, and his financier, Kin Ming Je, faced an indictment in federal court in Manhattan charging them with various crimes, including wire, securities and bank fraud. Guo was charged in court papers under the name Ho Wan Kwok.
U. S. prosecutors said the indictment stemmed from a complex scheme in which Guo lied to hundreds of thousands of online followers in the United States and around the
world before misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars.
Kin Ming Je, 55, has not been arrested. Guo was expected to appear in court
Wednesday. His attorney did not immediately comment.
The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, said in a release that Guo was charged with “lining his pockets with the money he stole, including buying himself, and his close relatives, a 50,000 square foot mansion, a $3.5 million Ferrari, and even two $36,000 mattresses, and financing a $ 37 million luxury yacht.”
Guo was once believed to be among the richest people in China. He left in 2014 during an anti-corruption crackdown led by President Xi Jinping that ensnared people close to Guo, including a top intelligence official. Chinese authorities have accused Guo of rape, kidnapping, bribery and other offenses.
Since then, has been highly sought by that nation’s government, relying on the U.S. for protection.